American Chestnuts (Castanea dentata). Be careful handling these burrs, or pods: the spines are v. sharp! Most of the nuts produced by these young trees are scrawny, undeveloped things, quite fibrous inside, but they still seem to disappear into the maws of the squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis).This one was vocally displeased with my poaching of the two plumpest nuts.
Posts Tagged 'Brooklyn'
Tags: Brooklyn, mammals, Prospect Park, trees
Tags: Brooklyn, butterflies, insects, invert, Marine Park
Tags: Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park, insects, invertebrates, plants
Tags: birding, birds, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park
Tags: Brooklyn, caterpillars, insects, invert, Prospect Park
Yellow Bear caterpillar (Spilosoma virginica), sometimes known as the Yellow Wooly Bear. Compare with one I photographed last year: they come in a great range of colors. According to Wagner, the pale early instars are gregarious, the older instars wonder lonely as a cloud. (I may have hopped-up Wagner’s description a bit.)
Tags: beetles, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park, insects, ladybugs
The Catalpa trees grow and the big heart-shaped leaves attract aphids, lots of aphids. The aphids, tiny little white sucking machines, coat the leaves with their “dew” — what goes in must come out in some form — which in turn attracts ants and wasps. The aphids themselves attract ladybugs, hungry little beasts. All the dark things on the leaf above are early-stage instars of lady beetle larvae, which look absolutely nothing like the shiny, round adults. This photo and the one below are shot with my camera’s macro through a 10x loupe. The ‘gator-like larval stage ladybug — see the two spots on its side, like the adult Two-spotted — is surrounded by aphids; these aphids are so small they can barely be seen with the naked eye. I don’t know if these are instals of A. bipunctata, but suspect so. I doubt that’s my hair, since I was wearing a hat. This one is so plump I suspect it’s close to pupating.
I have read that some localities ban Catalpas because they are messy trees, dropping foot-long, dried bean-pod-like seed pods, dripping with sticky goo, swarming with insects. But let’s hear it for mess! Nature is messy, complicated, interrelated. It is not a lawn or vast monocultural farm field soaked in poisons, which, as we keep learning over and over again, do tend to move from the insects and plants they are aimed against to fish and reptiles and birds and mammals, including the very people who apply the toxins and the rest of us. Quelle surprise! Luckily, Brooklyn Bridge Park has had the vision to plant Catalpas all over the place. And almost every one of these trees has Two-spotted ladybugs in them. Remember, this is a species that isn’t being seen as much as it used to be. Above and below, Two-spotted pairs are engaged in making more of their kind.Remember, too, that while the standard Adalia bipunctata is red-orange with two black spots, there are melanistic variations that are black with four red spots (or squares as in the side markings here), among other patterns.Here’s what the loupe/camera set up view looks like before cropping. Rest of my left-hand fingers are supporting the leaf from underneath. I’m amazed these came out this well. I wrote most of this post some weeks again, but a cursory look yesterday found three adult TSLs underneath some awfully bedraggled looking Catalpa leaves. Three cheers for bedraggled!
For my first discovery of these rare beetles two years ago on these trees, see here.
Tags: birding, birds, Brooklyn, Marine Park
Heron. Egret. What’s the difference? “Egret” comes from the Fr. aigrette, which seems to have come out the Old High German heigir, which means… heron. But then you know a hawk from a handsaw, right? Hamlet should have said herounceau, a young heron, but then that’s an Old French word and he was Danish, although he spoke in English. Shakespearean English, no less. What a confused puppy. So if you can’t tell a hawk from a heron, you’re in big trouble. And clearly not a subscriber to this blog. What are you waiting for? The half-price sale? It’s on now!